Pass-by the Cornfield in Sunnyvale

There is always something interesting outside our homes.

Jin showed me the famous cornfield along the Lawrence expressway in Sunnyvale last night when we drove back to my hotel. At night, I didn’t see it so clearly, but I managed to find it out on Google Earth.

Here is a report about the cornfield.

Joe Francia, the owner, just keep the land and won’t sell it. He loves to grow food on his own land. If he stays happy with it, why sell the land for millions of dollars? Interesting guy and gave me a lot inspirations. Thanks Jin to show it to me. BTW, we talked about the land when I asked a silly question yesterday: where are the farm land in Bay Area?

P.S. Google is also very interesting service. I wrote this blog with just a title and a Google Map. I take a snap and when I am up and continued to write this blog, I searched “Cornfield Sunnyvale” and found this blog entry is already the second result in the search result page. Wow. I want to give credit to Google for searching so fast, and also give my blog some credit for being a reliable content source that Google bot loves.

Update: Sept 9, 2007

Yin, Tina and I visited the cornfield in Sunnyvale again, and took some pictures. Here you are.

More pictures of the cornfield can be found here.

Trip Progress: Wake up Early in the Morning

Alan de Botton is right. When people are traveling, they sense the world in a much more sensitive way. Like me, during travel, I always have more to blog.

This time is about jet lag. Everyone has its own jet lag pattern. I have my own. As I slept well last afternoon, and fall asleep immediately after I got to bed yesterday at 12:30 at mid-night, I wake up for the first time at around 4:00 AM. The second time I wake up, it is just several minutes to 6:00 AM.

I feel this scene is so familiar to me: early morning, and it is still dark outside the window. It is very quiet although cars passing by the window one by one. It is the Hamilton Ave. They are only identified by the colors of their head and rear light, not by shape.

I said I don’t like planning, but this is purely software – I mean the mind, but for the hardware, I mean the body, it still strictly follow a plan, and wakes up or fall asleep at its own pace, isn’t it?

OK. This is a day full of meetings, so let me go downstairs to get my breakfast. I do feel hungry now.

P.S. Somebody said muscle memory lasts longer than mind memory, and a typical example is to recite a poem or learn to ride a bike. The feeling of body can easily draw us into history if we have ever had the same feeling. Let me: It is for sure that I will feel very hungry at noon time when I arrive (like yesterday) and very hungry at this morning. This all seems so familiar to me.

I am coming, my bread and banana.

Geek Dinner in Sunnyvale

Thanks Tina for arranging the dinner in Sunnyvale. It was described as “consumer Internet” meetup but finally turned out to be the geek dinner. Most people comes from technical background. This is not surprising – this is Silicon Valley anyway.

We have Tina, Richard, Stewart, Hongfei, Lei, Sophie , and Jin (Last name was intentionally removed so everyone knows who is who without leaking too much personal information). And then Yong joined the beer afterwards.

Some interesting thoughts emerges.

  • iPhone – everybody is taking about the same thing at the same time. Shall we call it information efficiency? The same topic can be quickly popular among many people. I even didn’t see such a pulse of information or topic in Shanghai.
  • Technical approach or content approach (human approach) to problems.
  • Again, the nightmare of Internet companies in China.
  • MITBBS, and Wenxuecity, the top overseas Chinese websites…
  • ….

Thanks everyone for coming and it made the first dinner of my trip so rewarding. Hope to see you again very soon.

But I guess I should go to bed now to wake up early enough to do the morning meeting. (Big delay in my schedule).

P.S. I just realized the next Tuesday is my 5 year anniversary of blogging. Interestingly, I will be at Six Apart that afternoon – the blogging software I am using.

Trip Progress: Arrived in San Jose

I am at Larkspur Landing Hotel in San Jose.

Long trip, but this time, I am a mature traveler, and everything is perfect so far. This time, I even have a little schedule. I didn’t have that before. According to MBTI test, I am a very typical Perceptive (vs Judging) person. I got full score for all the questions indicating perception. The key character of P person is “like flexibility”, and don’t like plan…

Here is what the plan says, and I have put the actual time behind it.


8:16 Arrival (8:00)

8:30 – 9:00 Custom and entry, sending a message to Wendy/Yifan (8:00 – 8:30)

9:00 – 10:00 George at SFO (8:30 – 9:30)

10:00 – 10:30 Pick up car (9:30 – 10:00)

10:30 – 11:30 SFO -> Hotel (10:00 – 10:30)

11:00 – 11:30 Checking emails (11:00 – 12:00)

11:30 – 12:00 Lunch at the Vietnam Noodle Place (12:00 – 12:30)

12:00 – 16:00 Sleep

You see, I can always save some time for routines, and even driving, but not on “checking emails”…

The weather here is great – the best weather in my limited travel experience. Is there a song named “Always Sunny California”? Every time I just have that song in my head when I drive.

Trip Progress: Pudong Airport

This may seem funny, but let me update my trip progress shortly.

I am at the gate 19 of Pudong Airport. Just checked email and will set OOF (I forgot to do so yesterday) and is going to get on-board soon.

Now it is 11:50 AM (The clock on this blog is offset by day light saving sometime ago, it is one hour offset from the real time.)

Happy flying, Jian Shuo!

Heading to San Jose Tomorrow

I am heading to San Jose tomorrow. Just checked the weather and found out it is only 14 degree to 23 degree there. Pretty cold compared to Shanghai. I have already packed some shirts into my package.

Tomorrow will be a long day – I am going to stick to the same day of Sept 6, 2007 for 24 + 16 = 40 hours. From the perspective of a human being, there is no difference – I just wait for the time to pass by, but from the calendar and time zone perspective, it is not wrong to say the day was extended. We see how different using different views of the same thing. Isn’t it interesting?

Tomorrow, the direct flight from Shanghai to San Francisco UA858 will bring me to SFO, and when I arrive there, after the long trip and at about 0:00 AM Shanghai time, it is just a normal Thursday morning before 9:00 AM. When I drive my car from Avis to the highway 101, the rush hour just finishes, and most people started their day in their office, and no one will notice someone just completed 4000 miles journey and appear on the highway. Thanks to travel that give me the sensation of what is going on that normal people in normal life won’t feel. That is the beauty of travel. Is there any way to keep every day as fresh as Sept 6 for me? I didn’t find a solution yet, and suspect that my energy can be easily used up for all kinds of “new things” in my old environment.

Anyway, in the next few days, don’t trust the time shown on this blog since the time is Shanghai time, and when I write it, I am following the Pacific Time.

Yes. I am Very Frustrated

The “very important meeting” is going to be held soon. To prepare a “good environment” for the meeting, massive websites in China were shutdown. This time, much different from the previous actions, it is the whole data center instead of websites or servers that were shutdown.

Let me take few famous IDCs (Internet Data Center) as examples. Zitian, an IDC in Luoyang was shutdown completely, and all the 500 servers were unplugged from Internet, and tens of thousands of websites hosted there were inaccessible on Aug 24. Among them is the largest traffic tracking site, and this infected a very big portion of Internet websites in China.

Soon, on Aug 28, Lanmang, the other IDC in Shantou faced the same situation. Again, tens of thousands of websites were complete inaccessible. An unconfirmed news said the data center closed in Shantou has 3000 servers, and they are all closed. Lanmang has to hire lots of trunks to put all these servers and distribute the servers into many other data centers across China. I doubt this can work, since the fate of other data centers may not be better after few days. However, what else can they do? I understand how painful people feel when a site is shutdown.

After that, news about whole IDC was shutdown came one after one, and each time, at least hundreds of servers were complete unplugged from Internet. Since these IDC host about 100 to 200 websites per server, I cannot imagine how many sites were shutdown. If this continues, I guess the total number of shutdown sites may quickly be one million. In Shanghai, many data centers were very simply completely unplugged, and each time, hundreds of servers or tens of thousands of websites were disconnected from Internet. The Waigaoqiao Data Center, the largest and one of the most advanced data centers in Shanghai were completely closed these days.

That is just the beginning. The recent order from the “top guy” requires all Internet Data Center to mandatory close all “interactive sites”. These sites include any kind of blogging, any kinds of BBS, or online forum, any kinds of comment features available on blog or content site. They really mean it this time. Many of my friends have closed the comment feature of their personal blog – many not be themselves, but by the hosting company.

It seems the pressure from top really makes people take it seriously. These days, all kinds of people are busy.

  • Telecom companies are busy unplugging Internet cable for data centers one by one.
  • Hosting companies that were already shutdown are either busy find out solutions for the closed sites, or handle waves of customer complains, or both.
  • Those hosting company or sites which were lucky enough not have been shutdown are busy shutdown “interactive sites” themselves, to avoid the whole data center run into bigger problem.
  • Bigger websites are preparing contingency plans about what they will do when they were shutdown.
  • All kinds of small site webmasters, or independent bloggers are busy signing up hosting package from abroad (I would be interested to know how many more orders bluehost, dreamhost, or ipowerweb got from China these days)
  • Bloggers hosting their blog on BSP can only keep their finger across and pray for their little blog.

If you ask me how I feel, as a blogger in China, I would say I am very very very frustrated about it.

New Regulations to Kill Group Renting in Shanghai

Finally, the new regulation on house rental in Shanghai come out at the end of th last month.

This regulation is aiming to get rid of the group cohabitant.

What is Group Cohabitant

I may use the wrong translation, but it is a popular way for people to share rental cost. In Shanghai, there are people who buy or rent the whole apartment, and separated into different rooms, and then rent it separately to different people. This is very common nowadays.

For example, last time I visited my friend and saw a “modern apartment”. It was originally an apartment with 3 bed rooms and 2 living rooms. The owner pull down some walls and setup some new walls, to create a 5-room apartment. Each has doors. At the entrance, there are 5 electricity meters, and 5 gas meters, so they can pay their share of the utility cost. They have satellite TV, bed, TV, air-con, shower, micro-wave, and many facility young people need. This apartment is in a very good residential area, and they charge for 1500 RMB per month.

There are also some low end apartments which allow 20 or more people to live in. They rent only a bed within a room and there may be many beds in the room. They charge only 300 – 400 RMB per month.

The Regulation

The regulation coming out two days ago prohibit this kind of group renting. It requires apartments in Shanghai must be rented to a family, or an individual, not many people. Everyone should has its own room or at least 5 sq. meters.

I don’t like this Regulation

Recently, it seems there are more regulations coming out every month than before. Every time I see some regulation like this, I just smile and comment: the government is just getting crazy.

  • There is need for people to share apartments. Shanghai’s real estate price just raises to be even as expensive as Tokyo, and even people with very good income cannot afford to buy a house. Where can those low-income people live? On the street? Maybe not a good idea. They have to think of ways to solve this problem.
  • To simple solution to complicated issue.. There are many problems brought by group renting, like security, noise, damage of house… but the key is solve these problems instead of just kill the whole way of living. Policy makers just want to find easy way to complicated situation. It is just like this: “How to solve the problem that the China’s population is too big?”, they may answer: “Easy. Kill half of them.” It sounds an easy and really working solution, but you need to respect the right of everyone, not just the half that survive. To ban group renting is the same thing.
  • Not practical. There are so many situation that is not covered in it. The media’s attention was draw to the fact that this regulation may forbidden unmarried couple to live together, or several friends living together. Some media outside China may even mis-read the rule as a way to ban Gay Couples (look at here: Shanghai Orders Landlords Not To Rent To Gay Couples). I would say this obviously exaggerated the situation since the regulation didn’t mean it, although it caused similar result.

Every time I read the release of a new regulation, I just worry how that can be implemented, and what they think when they make it. Well. The good thing (actually the bad thing ) is, since any regulation is just a piece of paper, and no one really follow it, it does not matter, and people don’t care. Maybe, it is just because of the abundance of ridiculous regulations that created the chaos of unregulated market even with the most regulations.

Going to San Jose on Sept 6

I am going to San Jose this week.

Here is my schedule:

Sept 6, 2007 Shanghai to San Francisco via UA858

Sept 12, 2007 San Francisco to Shanghai via UA857

I know I have a lot of friends in the Bay Area. Do you want to have a small meetup? Maybe on this Saturday near Stanford area. If you want to come, let me know. If there are some people (say, more than 2), I will think about a meetup there. Just comment or drop a mail to jianshuo at hotmali dot com.

Metro is Much Better than Bus


This morning, I just want to try new way to commute to work.

Do you know what I did? I tried BUS!

I got onto bus 607 and transited to Bus Bridge-6 to where I work.

Then guess how much time it cost me to arrive?

1 hour and 40 minutes!

Then I know it is not a good idea to take long distance bus at rush hours and when it is raining.


At night, I got wiser and chose to take Metro plush taxi

Guess how long it took?

1 hour in total.

Still not good enough but much better.

My Decision?

I will try to take metro tomorrow morning again, and see if it is feasible to use public transportation instead of driving. Driving is faster, but the faster our transportation vehicle is, the faster the pace of our lives are, and we feel the fewer time left, isn’t it?

Advertisement Card Distributors on Metro

The most annoying thing on Metro is those advertisement card distributors on the Metro. They just pass Metro cart one by one and throw those name card size advertisement card to the face of people, and passengers throw it to the floor. Thus makes the cart really dirty. See these two pictures I took today:

I called Metro police every time I see it but I know the police must have hard time to catch them, since it has been 2 years since this bang of people appeared on Metro and it seems more and more people are joining the team.

Improved Commenter Page

I have a subdomain just to hold profiles of users (or commenters). I admit it didn’t work so well. Ling mentioned it yesterday.

Hi Jian Shuo! Thank you for the medal! Wow! I actually topped the list for this month! Hahaha. I was so happy when I saw this post last night that I told my husband, “Yay! 我是第一名,我是第一名!” (English: “I’m number one!”) I didn’t know that being the #1 commenter of a blog for a month could make me feel so good. Guess everybody loves recognition and attention. Hahaha. *;)

You know, actually I was just aiming for the last position with 4 comments. But the topics in this blog are just so interesting that I wanted to join in and share my views as well. *:)

By the way, when I click my name above, I see that “Ling” has posted a total of 19 comments. The previous 10 comments were actually posted by someone else whose nick was also Ling. In order to not confuse myself with other commenters with that name, does it mean I need to register an account?

Once again, thank you for the recognition! Commenting on your blog sure is fun! *:D


Ling *:)

Posted by: Lin

I hear that. So I spent some time (two hours) on Sunday to fix this problem. Now I am happy to present you the new improved commenter profile page.

The New Look and Function

Take Ling’s profile page as an example, you will see this new design:


You may notice the change: there are more colors to present the different commenters. Each email is presented in a different color, without leaking the information. You can also click on any color to filter the comments to only that user.

Try to play with it and see if you like it. Very soon, during my next rebuild of this blog, commenter’s name will be linked to this profile page, unless he/she specify URL when he/she left the comment. In this case, it will be directly linked to the homepage.

Find out Your Comment Page

Want to see your own comment page? If you have ever left a comment on this blog, you can find it by entering the nickname you choose when you made the comment into the form below:

P.S. As I write this entry, I found there are 16,000 page indexed in Google. I believe this change can contribute to the search index of Google. Let me wait and see.

Yifan is 3 Months Old

Tomorrow Yifan will be three months old. Here are his recent photos – I took it today.

Wendy today created a flash movie for Yifan.

Yifan now is so sweet, and his has lots of “favorite moment”.

  • He loves morning. I like to sit by his bed and wait for him to wake up from the long sleep in the morning. When he wakes up, and see me, he immediately give me wonderful smile – I always smile longer and happier than he does.
  • He loves to have his “breakfast”. He eat milk from his mom, and he does enjoy his first “meal”. He sings and kicks when he eats, and obviously he is happy about eating again after long hours of sleep.
  • He loves to go out. We bring him out, and now he starts to be a little bit curious about the outside world. He keeps eyes wide open and see this and that along way. At the second part of any trip, as always, he sleeps in my (or Wendy’s) arms.
  • He loves bath. He do enjoy sitting in the warm water and enjoy Wendy to put shampoo onto his body.
  • He loves TV!. I cannot believe that he, at his 3 month, is so interested in the TV. He tend to turn his head toward the screen. I guess he is just curious about colorful objects. I am always naughty enough to put a pillow between him and TV so he cannot watch TV – he is not frustrated about it yet. :-)

The life with Yifan is so much fun. I do enjoy everyday this little angel in our home.

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How to Add Navigation Menu to MovableType

Have you noticed the change in the header of my blog? Look at this screen shot at the end of this article.

Yesterday, I added a global navigational menu to my blog. I love this change very much, and it gives people a way to dive deep into a specific category more quickly – just from any page. If you like the design, and you may wonder how you can create the same thing in your MovableType backed site? Here is a quick guideline.


This is the code I used in my template (I put it into a seperate Header module).

<div id=”nav”><MTTopLevelCategories>

<ul id=”nav_menu”><li class=”top”><a class=”top” href=”<$MTCategoryArchiveLink$>”><$MTCategoryLabel$>  </a>


<li><a class=”nav” href=”<$MTCategoryArchiveLink$>”>  <$MTCategoryLabel$></a></li></MTSubCategories></ul></ul></MTTopLevelCategories>


The key here is to have a div with id nav, and then several ul with id nav_menu, then put the top level menu items inside this tag. Then have another fewl ul and put sub menu items in it. That is so simple.


In your CSS (jianshuowangstyle.css in my case), add the following code. Credit goes to Livid and his V2EX for inspiration and sample code.

div#nav {border:1px solid #CC9900;border-top:0px;clear: both;height: 21px;background-color:#F0F8FF;margin-bottom:10px;background-color:#EAEFF4;clear;both;padding:0px}

div#nav a:link, div#nav a:visited {color: #000;text-decoration: none;}

div#nav {background-color:#F0F8FF}

#nav_menu {display: block;padding-top:5px;padding-left:15px;padding-bottom:0px;}

#nav_menu a, #nav_menu a:visited {text-decoration:none;color:333}

#nav_menu, #nav_menu ul {padding: 0;margin: 0;list-style: none;}

#nav_menu a.nav {display: block;padding-top: 2px;height: 17px;width: 14em;}

#nav_menu li {float: left;}

#nav_menu li ul {display: block;position: absolute;width: 14em;left: -999em;

opacity: .99;filter: alpha(opacity=99);background-color: #FFF;

padding-top: 3px;padding-bottom: 3px;

border-bottom: 1px solid #CCC;border-right: 1px solid #CCC;border-left: 1px solid #CCC;z-index: 99;}

div#nav a.nav:hover {color: #FFF;text-decoration: none;background-color: #667;}

div#nav a.nav:active {color: #FFF;text-decoration: none;background-color: #333;}

#nav_menu li:hover ul, #nav_menu li.sfhover ul {left: auto;}


There is no JavaScript involved in this. Weird? The trick is, set the left property to -999 em, which is far on the left side of the screen edge, and on hover, set it to auto.

If you like the functions, just feel free to use the code (CSS, and HTML), and you get it.

For my readers, do you like this little improvement?